Day 16 – Joys of digging

Today was another great day on site with many volunteers coming out of the woodwork to help us finish up. Matt with the help of Hugh McElveen, Callum McElveen and Helen has bottomed the great pit where there are fire-reddened boulders and burnt bone in the base. Craig and Tom have emptied the inner ditch so all the action is now homing in on the north end of the trench where the outer ditch continues to go down, thanks to the hard work of Joseph, Livy, Donal, Katee and Muirne Lyons (National Monuments Service). Billy and Geraldine have started recording the long sections. Archaeologist Ian Russell  (ACS) arrived on site and very generously offered to record the site with the company’s drone, which is greatly appreciated. It was wonderful to welcome to the site our long-standing supporters James and Margaret Nugent with their extended family and Anthony Murphy with his family.  Another distinguished visitor was Laureen Buckley (human bone expert) who brought a fabulous cake from a recent significant birthday party. Many thanks to Catherine Bonner who kept us supplied with tea throughout the day and the Redhouse family who kindly plied us all with ice creams. Its a great life ( … if you don’t weaken)!

Matthew began the day determined to bottom the ‘great pit’.
Here Matt cleans out the last bit of burnt earth and charcoal over the natural boulders at the base of the pit. Almost done.
The ‘great pit’ emptied at last.
The cutting at the end of day 16.


Craig Downie and newcomer to the site Muirne Lyons
Muirne and Katee. If you look closely you can see that Katee is standing on a brown patch in the north-west corner of the cutting. This is the last of the pits identified by Joanne Leigh included in our cutting. We only have a couple more days to dig it out to see what it contains.
Anthony Murphy and family (Ann, Amy, Luke, Josh, Tara and Finn) joined us for the day and did a mighty job sieving through the deposits from the ‘great pit’. Anthony is still his loveable and humble self despite being included in last Saturday’s Irish Times under the category of ‘What’s Hot’!
Laureen Buckley is Ireland’s leading human bone expert. Unfortunately, we have not found any human bone on the site (a fact that she was able to confirm today). Laureen just celebrated a significant birthday and she shared her fabulous cake with us.
The common denominator in this photo is the link with the Sweetman family. Seated beside Geraldine is Margaret Nugent (nee Sweetman). Margaret is the aunt of Hugh McElveen (shown in this picture with wife Catherine, son Callum and daughter Eve. Then you have James Nugent (husband to Margaret) with a daughter-in-law, Oonagh Conlon, and two of their grandchildren, Emma and Sarah Nugent. James and Margaret have been great supporters of our excavations from the beginning.
Ian Russell of ACS Archaeological Services in control of the company drone (see below).
The magnificent panorama of the Bend of the Boyne with our excavation centre-left. The photo was taken from the ACS drone (photo: Ian Russell).


Author: Matthew Stout

Lecturer, School of History and Geography, St Patrick's Campus, DCU

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